Who is Liable in a Chain-Reaction Car Accident?

December 28, 2021 | Car Accidents

Determining liability after any type of vehicle accident can be challenging. However, this is particularly true for chain-reaction collisions. Here, we want to properly define a chain-reaction collision and discuss who may hold liability when one of these types of crashes occurs. It is crucial for those harmed due to the negligence of others to be able to recover compensation, and determining liability is the only way to do that.

Some Chain-reaction Crash Scenarios

Intuitively, we all know what a chain-reaction collision is. However, there are various scenarios in which these incidents may occur. Typically, a chain-reaction collision starts with an initial collision between two cars that creates enough of a hazard or enough force to affect other vehicles. Some possible chain-reaction collision scenarios include:

  • A driver slams into the median on a highway after hydroplaning on a patch of water. This driver is hit in the rear by the driver right behind them, initiating a chain-reaction collision with multiple vehicles behind them. This type of situation is incredibly dangerous due to the high speeds of every subsequent collision.
  • Two vehicles are stopped at a stop sign when a third vehicle with an impaired driver approaches from the rear and fails to stop. If the third vehicle slams into the second vehicle, this could subsequently lead to the second vehicle slamming into the first vehicle. To make matters worse, the force of the collision could push the first vehicle into the intersection and right into other traffic.

Who is Responsible for a Chain-reaction Collision?

Determining liability after a chain-reaction collision can be challenging. In most chain-reaction crashes in Indiana, we will find that these incidents are caused by errors made by one or more drivers involved. Some of the most common causes of chain-reaction collisions in our area include:

  • Speeding. Year after year, speeding remains the top cause of crashes in our state, and this is a common cause of chain-reaction collisions. Often, drivers are operating too fast to stop before they run into the rear of other vehicles on the roadway.
  • Failing to yield. Yielding the right of way is crucial, and failing to yield could lead to any number of types of crashes. Drivers who do not yield, and those who fail to use the turn signal, create immense hazards for those around them.
  • Following too closely. Following other drivers too closely can make what would have been a minor crash a major one. We can imagine a scenario where an entire line of vehicles is following one another too closely. If even one of them slams on their brakes for any reason, it could cause a complete chain-reaction collision.
  • Alcohol impairment. Drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs are immensely more dangerous on the roadways, and they could certainly cause a chain-reaction collision.
  • Distractions. Distractions behind the wheel or a leading cause of vehicle accidents, and distracted drivers are much less likely to see other hazards on the roadway.

Determining liability after a chain-reaction collision involves extensive investigations. Often, investigators will find that one driver was responsible for the initial collision, but there may be shared fault amongst the other drivers involved, depending on how and why they became a part of the “chain.” An Indianapolis personal injury lawyer can help.